What Are Closed Back Headphones?

So you asked the question, what are closed back headphones?

closed back earphonesClosed back earphones are also commonly called ‘sealed’ earphones. These headphones are primarily designed to reduce, minimize or completely shut out external sound.

This is achieved by semi airtight ear cups that seals the ears and prevents outside noise from interfering.

At the same time, closed back earphones are also designed in a manner that prevents the sound playing from leaking out in a manner that may disturb people around you.

What Are Closed Back Headphones -The Pros and Cons


Closed back models, quite obviously, will be the ideal choice if you want to listen to music in a room full of other people (who aren’t interested in knowing what you are listening to).

This could be on the bus back home, in the office, at home and other such places. Another place where closed back earphones will be ideal (as opposed to open back ones) is a classroom where multiple students are practicing simultaneously.

Another great thing about these earphones is that because they seal in the sound, the bass response and presence in the music is noticeably better. Listeners who are fastidious about the low end with a fat and full bass might enjoy how the closed ear cups prevent bass leakage and provide a weighty bass. A lot of EDM lovers, DJ and studio engineer’s use high quality closed back earphones because of high levels of isolation and a meaty bass response.


The drawback, however, is that because the ear cups seal the sound in – it causes a boxy kind of effect that makes the listener feel as if the music is playing inside his head.

In other words, the sound is not as natural as what you may get from open back or semi-open back earphones. This issue may not apply to all models to the full extent but almost all cheaper models will fall in this category.

Some brands offer high-end closed back headphones with special materials to cover the back that have resolved this issue to some extent.

What Are Closed Back Headphones Priced At?


Closed back headphones are sturdy and relatively inexpensive. You can spend anything from $50 to $1000 on closed back headphones, depending on what you want them for.

Recommended Brands

Sennheiser, Denon, AKG, Sony and Shure are some well known names when it comes to closed back earphones.  As always – the idea is to find something that suits your needs, within your budget and not look for bells and whistles that you will never use. Below is a list of some closed back headphones for you to consider.

As discussed in another post, there is no real comparison between the open and closed back headphones because they both have their share of pros and cons which make them ideally suited for very different situations. A lot of people own a pair of each because of their functionality and sound quality. You can read more about open back headphones in my other post here.

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